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tv   [untitled]    May 14, 2012 10:30am-11:00am EDT

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he can do it tomorrow. but it's not going to -- already in 2008 when the he did georgia, medvedev did georgia, it was not at all the same reaction as in '9 with chechnya. many people actually saying and this is and many people are still saying this today it was the best gift to the separatists and the russia north caucuses to recognize the separatist entities. you set the precedent yourself. how can you say anything. did you it yourself? there you go. if you remember all the main opposition leaders in 2008 said they were reverse that decision. they will not be recognizing those separatist entities because it's against long-term rush yourian interests, as well. he can try to do it but it doesn't work anymore with the terrorism cart. he lost that card. putin is the same but the country is very different. society is very different. whatever he did in 1999 and 2000, just look at this
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operation successner 2007 it worked perfectly. nobody said anything when he pointed at medvedev and said this guy will be president. in 2011, when he tried to do the same, he had tens of thousands of people on streets within weeks. he the old tricks are not going to work anymore. >> okay. >> hi, i'm kate eye fox from the national democratic institute. thanks you very much for your always very interesting remarks. i wanted to ask you a little bit mort about the future activities of the opposition and assuming that there is this is new constituency of people who are consumerens and now want to be citizens what is the opposition do to keep them involved? a lot of people say that the rallies are getting all? er, that tactic is starting to wear out. running in elections is great, of course, but they'll be rigged elections and candidates may not
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be allowed to register. it's not clear that this tap into this pool of discontent. can you talk a little more about that in. >> sure. i think maybe you are right at the rebeginning, we talk a little bit about the local elections. the opposition does shift the strategy from just the street protests. the next large march is planned for the 12th of june, russian national day and the anniversary of the declaration of sovereignty back in 1990, a symbolic day for russian democrats as well as being an official state holiday. the strategy is moving from the streets to the ballot boxes. you say of course, the elections of rigged. they're manipulated. what we've seen enshrined in in new law in the elections of regional governors is so much conditions and limits and hur e hurdles for people to overcome to be able to run. with all that said, even the laebszs like that are still a
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big hablg for th-- headache for regime. the with the conditions as they are, knobs free campaign, no tvr airtime, carousel voting, ballot stuffing, with all this the opposition took a third of the seats in the moscow municipal legislatures. we've seen the opposition win mayoral. by 70% to 28 was the score of the opposition candidating the putin candidate. as these governors elections come back, that's going to be a major opportunity for the opposition. and as we discussed already predictions that some of the major regions will elect opposition leaders as the governors. and all you need to look at is how the kremlin is waiting for this and how it'specting it.
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in the last couple of months, last few months since this concession was forced from them by the mass protests, the reinstatement of gubernatorial elections they've made as of may 11th, it's 17 gub na tore ral an buttonments. they've been trying to the last minute they're use their power. and most of those have within in regions that were supposed to hold leekzs either this year or next. so they're afraid of even those kinds of elections which they very control over. in var row slav, everybody said it wasn't this guy getting 70%. it was people going and telling what they think of putin. this is what they're afraid of in the regional votes, as well. even if they disqualify 80% of candidates, even if some guy who nobody heard of but he's against the regime, he can get 75% because he's against the regime. yesterday, the elections comes in force on june 1st. so we still have what, two, three weeks of this power of
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appointment. i think we should expect to see some more of those, desperate appointments in the last time frame they can still do it. it's not going to save them. they can't do it forever. and if as there was some suggestions that they may after the initial rise in the protests after they announced the governors elections, around march, february, march, the suggestion that they might try to roll it back. they decided they can't do it because they'll have 200,000 people in central moscow the next day. at the time putin's the same, but russia is not. the pap think, public apathy is gone. he can try to do the same things he did for the past 12 years. there was no reaction before. imagine for instance when he shut downn tv, the biggest most popular independent -- took over. still the name ntv but now it's a symbol of trash journalism but it used to be the most popular
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independent television. if he tried to do that now, can you imagine what kind of the numbers of people you would see on the streets and squares of central moscow? it's nothing like 2000 or 2001. he may do things the same, but it's not going to lead to the same results. >> roger, atlantic council. what is sort of the timing of these regional elections and particularly people that have just been appointed? do they have a certain fixed number of years? how soon will this kind of wave actually take effect on election day? >> absolutely. initially there were supposed to be a dozen gubernatorial races. supposed to be a dozen regions. we're now down to five out of the dozen because they have made all those appointments in the last few weeks. they still have two weeks more of that power till june 1st. so they may still make more of those appointments.
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you can see where they're making one. one region where putin's party even officially got 30% in december. we don't know what the real results was. that region was supposed to told gubernatorial elections this october. they didn't want to risk it. they made the early appointment. they have fixed terms, either four or five years. so those people an ipt poed are now going to serve out until 2016 or 2017. and no elections will take place. all this shows first that they're scared, second that they're weak. because everybody understands they just making it appointments in those regions which were supposed to hold elections either this year or the next which basically is they're basically signing up to the fact that they're going to lose as they just lost a slate of mayoral votes across the country. on october 14th, there will still be -- they can't get rid of them all.
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that would be the equivalent of an polishing the elections again and they will have the mass protests. going back also to the question of limits they have all these hurdles in the law to register their candidate you have to have collect signatures from local legislatures and many of those provinces they strew pro-kremlin legislators. but people have countered to that. a prominent political analyst in russia said that's even more dangerous for the regime. imagine there's a really popular local leader that has genuine support. and suddenly the kremlin removes him. can you imagine what's going to happen on the streets and squares of that city? all they're going to do is multiply the protests from moscow, st. petersburg to across the country and give people local grievances, not just national ones. just as we've seen with the protest movement in its early is
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takens in 2009 and 2010. it was many local issues that brought people to the streets initially like the rise in the car tax where that of the protest a couple years ago. himke forest near moscow, the import car tariffs in vlad vas stock. the pollution of the lake near kunst provided initial emesimpe and it became against putin and for free elections. if the ream is going to provide moral local grievances and more local reasons for people to engage in protest movement, that's going to be bad for them above all. so even these limited and conditioned elections may become a great opportunity for the opposition. there was a recent -- you asked the precise number. there was a recent leak from the kremlin in the newspaper that said that you should expect to have between three and five
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gubernatorial races this year in october. that was when there was still supposed to be eight or nine. people realize there are going to be more appointments coming. and think did come yesterday. now they won't have an election in october. so we're down to five. but the leak was between three and five. we may see a couple more. but there will be some in any case, october 14th. that's the next election date. >> every year. they'll be every year. this law forced out of the kremlin in december that's coming out on the 1st of june says any governor who for any reason ceases her function it, sacked, resigned, and you june 1st, 2012 the replacement can only be electeded in a. election. so they have to do it now. they have two weeks to do it. if they don't do it before june 1st, that's it. they'll have to have elections
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for governors after that. >> just make a chart of the replacements and the percentage of pro-pugh tin, they've tarred all people with local pro-pugh tin turnout. >> let me ask you a question regarding what the opposition -- political solution as well as economical solution? because bottom line -- hope for change to see is not only just political solution but also economical solution. so what the opposition offer? what they are offering to the russian people? >> well, the question you asked is for when weep do have the next free election campaign. that will be a legitimate question. we're now at the stage that the serbs were at in 2000 or the
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ukrainians in 2004. it's a question of getting people out of prisons who sit there for their views. it's a question of having a free vote instead of a rigged and prearranged vote like we do. it's a question of having public debate on national tv between proponents of different economic views rather than just putin all the time. it's a great and legitimate question you're asking but it's not for this is taken. we're not having an election campaign now. we're having a civic movement against an unelected regime. this goes back to don's point. it's a wide coalition. when weep do have the next free election, you not see like people in the same party. what you seep now is the opposition coalition for honest elections it was called until march. right now there will be a rebranding presumably now. it will it be ten or 12 different parties when the time
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comes. the economic solutions will ranging from there to here. they'll it be completely different. that's not the question now. that's not the point now. >> and maybe just it out follow up that question, i think a number of people would argue werners would argue that the sources of putin's power have to do with the fact -- with the image that eases established security, established stability. and prosperity. and as president, as head of the government he retains a lot of ways to influence the prosperity of the country going forward. russia faces some pretty heavy economic headwinds. to what extent -- to what extent can putin -- and i think from your comments the answer is obvious but i'd like for you to answer it anyway -- to what extent can rising prosperity, if putin is able to deliver it,
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moderate the kind of domestic political problems for him that you've described? >> well, in 2004, it took $27 a barrel oil price to balance the russian budget. in 2011, it 1250k $15 just to break even point. this sbebs of any kind of structural reforms that the entrenchesment 6789 pet tral state, the massive corruption, a quarter of russian gdp is eaten up by corruption. capital flight has more than doubled in the last year, especially after putin's medv medvedev job announcement. the figures are to that extent. so the this -- the prosperity that's keeps trumpeting, sure, the clique around him who became billionaires yeah they have prosperity. but it doesn't really affect the
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country. so the that's why -- the forecast i mentioned earlier by the center for strategic research one of the reasons they project the spread of the protestet movement beyond the large cities is because if a fiscal crisis hits in the 2014 as many. people expect, they'll be a whole new constituency of protesters, those who have economic grievances. for now, those whom for now putin is able to pay off essentially with high pensions for the time being he's able to pay them off, when the money runs out, they will then join the protest movement. that's around 2014 that's expected. on your second point and i think that's also, that's why many of us think this movement now is even more significant than '91. there was ray protest against the totalitarian system and against zt economic misery that
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soviet state socialism brought with it. this movement we're seeing since december, you can't buy these people off. they're not asking for increased salaries or they're not asking for better cars. these are the people who have a pretty good standard of living. they just want to be treated as people, not as cattle. they don't want to be told by some guy that he's staying for president for another 12 years. they want to elect a president. that's one of the reasons for -- this is the old classical argument was it barrington moore that once the middle class the prosperity the prosperous center of your population reaches a certain level, they will be demanding democracy and political rights. that certainly does seem to fit in that because the percentage of middle class has certainly risen in russia, thanks to the oil prices in last decade. and now as that phrase was you had before, it's used many
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times, they have become consumers already. it's not the economic grievances they have. they want to become citizens. they want to have a voice in their future. >> can i say something on the putin program? it seems to me that will president putin does have a program and if you look at the documents he gave a series of ten speeches including some basic speeches on the issue of economics. and if you look at the programs that he's emphasizing and the papers that are coming out from the council on productive forces in russia, the sops group with the development of the arctic, it's an extensive infrastructure program in which they will use the oil and gas is important but now there's an orientation toward mineral resources, china and india need mineral resourcez. those resource are there in the arctic and the far east. putin is going to develop this stuff. it includes an improvement of
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the conditions of life of people in these regions because it's a very difficult region to live in. and they will have to have insentives. they're going to do that. an it seems to me that he's talking about program wrlz all the opposition is talking about is let's get putin. ef no programmatic ideas. if i were interested in the future of russia which is in pretty bad shape, you have that middle class which is fairly well off but the majority of russians are suffering a lot because of the economic conditions, because of the population, the decrease of population, all of these things exist and it seems to me that this is a program oriented towards improving the situation of russia. if imp a patriotic russian, whether i liked putin or not and looked at what the opposition is saying which is get rid of putin, i would probably say i will go with putin because this is the way to do it. it's funny to see that that you
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know, you expect people to buy a pig in a poke by voting for the opposition when they don't have an economic program. that's pretty farfetched. with regard to putin's extent and term in office, he will be there 18 years, not 24 years. i don't think he's decided and may not decide to run again. but i just want to point out that if franklin roosevelt had lived he would have served 16 years. i myself think that would have been better than having harry truman come in. it is an unprecedented this extent in office of a president. >> not to make a moral equivalence between fdr and putin. >> whatever you want. >> if i can just respond right, once again you had that phrase you know people don't vote for the opposition. you can't vote for the opposition because it's not allowed on the ballot. v vav lynn ski was not on the ballot. you couldn't because they took
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him off. you can't vote for the opposition. there are no elections. you can't vote for whoever you want. let's forget about voting >> well, they had -- sure. they had someone who's been there for 20 years. we talked about someone earlier. oligarchs depends on putin 100%. didn't sasa single harsh word. and two dozen parties were disqualified by -- >> didn't run against putin. >> he did not because you have to have several names on the ballot, you can't have one like in brezhnev's time. i'm surprised, you know, you ask all these question questions. in 2008, you had someone you never heard before. but anyway, this is going into details. when you talk about putin's programs, it's all very nice talking act fiction and theory, but consider the fact 50% of all
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oil exports from russia controlled by putin's friend operating out of switzerland. if you look at the levels of corruption and how it's risen and how it's stifling the entire economy, i don't think -- i mean, i don't want to discuss fiction and what he says and what it's going to develop. read the white papers that were published years ago. read about his billion-dollar palace in the black seacoast. that's his action. that's not what he says or writes. that's what he does. and people know that he does it. that's why so many people are coming out in the streets against him also, not just because of the political considerations, just because -- just because of the -- the thievery going on under this regime. putin is a thief is the most popular political slogan, actually, more popular than for free elections or free political prisoners. if you look at the protests and the placards including the people in the last few weeks, putin is a thief.
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that's one of the most popular slogans. [ inaudible question ] who's financing? just ordinary citizens who come out in the streets. post financing -- when there was a -- >> we have about ten minutes left. >> okay. >> so let me bunch our questions together, please, and make them brief. you, please, then john had his hand up. let's get the new faces first. >> with freedom house. one of first orders that -- or among the first orders that putin gave on the inauguration day was this deadline to establish the eurasian union by january 1st of 2015. and -- what which has been a pet project of his and we saw the articles appearing that he wrote, including listening to his program. and so immediately after that we see kind of a very modest
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commentary from, for example, lukashenko in his state of the union address who almost brushed over the topic. at the same time, in the recent weeks we saw an arms deal with kazakhstan and things developing on that front. so what do you think -- will this project ever come to life and will be something sustainable and something that will eventually aid putin in his current term to maintain his potion in the world arena somehow? or will it be something that just dies off eventually? >> asking about the eurasian union. >> the eurasian union. >> john's question, too. save time. >> assume that you're right and putin's support collapses in two, three, four years, he
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doesn't last six years. what sort of transition is there going to be after putin? what is that collapse going to look like? what comes afterwards? and what challenges does that have for the rest of the world? >> take those two. >> sure. on the eurasian question, i think it's going to be the same fate as the union state of russia, belarus. sometimes brought to the fore when it's needed for propaganda purposes, sometimes forgotten. you mentioned lukashenko. exactly the same pattern with that. this union state has existed since 1996. there hasn't been anything to do it. the only unintended consequences, the only good one, you were there, don, a couple months ago. one of the leaders of the opposition from belarus came here to washington to receive an award. and he's, of course, on the band, on the blacklist by lukashenko. he's not allowed to leave belarus. so what these opposition figures
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do, is because there's no border between belarus and russia, they go to moscow and take a plane from there and fly. that's the only good but unintended consequences of the union state. and in terms of your very important question on the transition, very much up to the regime how this transition will be. you know, when you saw the initial protests in december and february, you saw people coming out, you know, with families, with small kids, people there with white rib gones. and it was 100% peaceful protest, you know, just of moral -- a moral, peaceful protest against this carbon monoxide of regime. but when you have basically unleashing an army of 20,000 interior ministry troops and riot police and peaceful demonstrators, that's going to inevitably radicalize the opposite side, too. and nobody from the opposition leadership, nobody, you know, wants a revolution or civil war, god forbid, or anything like
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that. but the regime has been trying to do that, by trying to completely close off and shut off all the normal legal avenues, you know, not just for political participation, which they have done over the last decade, but also for peaceful protest as well. i mean, david crane, your colleague, spoke a couple days ago here. he said, you know, once again with lukashenko now they can be arrested for clapping. passed a law against clapping protests. and singing, exactly. and in moscow you're arrested for wearing white. white is the is symbol of protest. not sunday or monday with the big protests but the entire week where police randomly are arrested people who wear the symbols of white ribbon or white handkerchief or anything. they've been detained and put into buses and put into cells. the russian opposition leader was arrested having a cup of coffee. when you have a regime doing
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that, it doesn't encourage the peaceful protests and doesn't give the opposition any encouragement to remain peaceful and moral. inevitably there will be radicals on the other side. and that's very bad. and nobody's there, but they're actively working for that end by trying to hang on until the very end, until they crash. that's what, you know, this exit strategy is about once again, this forecast that i mentioned by the center for strategic research. basically, they're saying these are putin's associates. kozak is his deputy prime minister. they're basically saying you've really got to start looking for an exit strategy because you're not going to be there much longer, you know, maybe another few years but not much longer. and you better have that exit strategy because otherwise it's just going to all crash and that's going to be bad for everybody -- for the opposition, for the regime, for russia, for the neighbors, for the outside world. but the ball is in their court now. the opposition is protesting peacefully.
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when they kick pregnant women in the stomach and say you should have your liver spread over the pavement, putin's press secretary, that shows you who wants a peaceful transition and who's going to resist it until the very end. >> time for one more. >> time for one more. yeah. ira. >> since several people followed up on pressing you on putting in a program, i'd like to follow up and say this generous word. it seems to me that every opposition in the authoritarian system is lacking in substantive program compared to what will be needed the day after a transition. this has always been my experience dealing with people who -- before the transition, after, seeing what went wrong. so i think the question is fair to you even if not always fairly worded, sometimes a bit harshly worded. still i think it's fair to say that probably the opposition will need to work more on
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program because when a transition occurs, all the bills come due. and i'm not just talking about economic bills. all the issues that people put off under what was called stability, suddenly they don't allow to be put off and you have to deal with them all and you have to be ready for it. so i think it's something worth considering more seriously. on the other hand, you put a kind of chall to the rest of us in your article some months ago that the bills are due for us also who want this change to cur. when the change occurs, we need to be ready with our share of dealing with it, not just in terms of getting money, which is what some people understand it to mean, but in terms of the relations we want, how we want to deal with those relations. i think that's even a more fair challenge to us because we weren't ready during the last transition. equally fair or even more fair than the challenge to you. i do want to emphasize the challenge to you but to say we at least share it equally if not more so. >> thanks for your fairness. final comments? >> we need to close up. >> i


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